Hero
VĪRĀSANA (वीरासन)
(veer-AHH-sah-nah)

 


‘Vīra’= hero, chief, warrior, champion, or man, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Hero’s Pose

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Kneeling / Stretch / Seated

1. Start in Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana), kneeling with your feet tucked under and your thighs over your calf muscles. Your shins should be parallel to each other with the tops of your feet on the mat.
2. Engage your quadriceps and slightly rise up to your knees away from your heels. Keeping your knees together, separate your feet far enough so that your hips can sit between your feet on the floor. Place your hands on your calf muscles to help rotate the muscles outward while keeping your knees pointing forward.
3. Slowly lower your hips so that your buttock is flat and grounded to the mat, keeping your hips forward. Make sure your heels and toes are on the outside of your thighs and that your heels are lined up with your toes pointing straight back. Your shins and ankles should be pressed into the mat.
4. Place your hands on your knees, palms down (or on Guyan Mudra), and take a deep breath as you sit up tall and draw your shoulder blades together. Then exhale as you bring your shoulders down and relax.
5. Keep your core slightly engaged so that your back is straight and in alignment over your hips.
6. Gaze forward with your chin parallel to the ground and relax into the pose.
7. Breathe into this pose for several breaths.
8. When ready, slowly bring your feet together and back into Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana). You can then also extend them out straight and into Staff Pose (Dandasana).

Common Adjustments
• Shoulders strained or up toward ears
• Back arched
• Rounded Lower back
• Chest collapsed
• Hips not in alignment and facing forward
• Hips in the air or to the side
• Knees are not together
• Knees not pointing straight
• Knee or ankle discomfort or pain
• Leg cramps
• Heels and toes not in line
• Heels not next to thighs

Modifications
• Student who experience too much pressure on the knees and ankles, can either: a) spread their knees farther apart, b) place their toes at a 45-degree angle away from the thighs, c) place a block under their hips (between the feet) and a towel behind the knees, d) place a blanket behind the knees, e) place a blanket under the knees and/or ankles, f) place a bolster or block under the hips and between the feet to relieve the pressure, or g) they can sit in a kneeling chair.
• For students that need assistance with flexibility, have them practice facing away from a wall with their knee to foot up the wall.
• For students that would like a challenge, have them bring their feet closer to each other. Then they can place them on each other with the soles pointing away from them toward the back wall. Next, they can place the sit bones on the heels of the feet, bringing the hips higher. *Do with caution.

Counter Poses
• Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)
• Staff (Dandasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana)
• Wide Child’s Pose (Prasarita Balasana)
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Cobra (Bhujangasana)
• Forward Bend, Seated (Paschimottanasana)

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques
• Upper (Cervical), Middle (Thoracic), and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine• Hips
• Gluteus Maximus• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles• Knees
• Ankles• Feet

Benefits
• Alternative to Easy Pose (Sukhasana) or Lotus Pose (Padmasana) for meditation.
• Stretches and strengthens the shoulders, spine, groin, quadriceps, hamstrings, knees, and ankles. This increases flexibility and strengthens the tendons around the ankles and knees.
• Relieves stiffness and tension in the neck, shoulders, hip joints, groin, and knees. This also aids with pain in the back, calf muscles, ankles, and heels, as well as reduces the pain of a deviated, broken, or fused tailbone.
• Improves posture and alignment, as well as focus.
• Aids in digestions and relieves flatulence, as well as relieves symptoms of hyperacidity.
• Therapeutic for students with asthma, high blood pressure, and rheumatic pains in the knees, feet, and ankles.
• Helps relieve symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
• Increases blood circulation, especially in the legs. This helps calm the mind and helps with anxiety, stress, and mild depression.

Contraindications
1. Students with stiffness, discomfort, or injury in the knees or ankles should avoid this pose unless proper guidance is available.
2. Students, who are pregnant or have a headache, should avoid this pose or use modifications.
3. Students with cardiac or other circulatory concerns, have a heart disease, or have osteoarthritis should avoid this pose.
4. It is important to stretch before doing this pose.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – Seated Postures as “Virasana – Hero Pose”.
    • Watch the Chapter 8 video “Virasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 9 – Supine and Prone Postures as “Supta Virasana – Reclining Hero Pose”.
    • Watch the Chapter 8 video “Supta Virasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 10 – KNEELING POSES as “VIRASANA – Hero’s Pose”. It is listed at the beginning of the chapter.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 10 – KNEELING POSES as “SUPTA VIRASANA – Reclining Hero Pose”.

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